Australian Telcos Could Access Your Phone And Internet Data And Store It For Up To Two Years

iiNet boss Steve Dalby. Photo: Twitter/ Steve Dalby

Australian telecommunication companies could soon store your phone and internet data for two years under a compulsory data retention scheme proposed by Attorney-General George Brandis.

The collection of metadata the telcos would have access to includes times, location, sender and receiver, and possibly URLs and IP addresses, according to iiNet boss Steve Dalby.

“Metadata reveals even more about an individual than the content itself,” Dalby says in a submission to the data retention inquiry.

Despite national security agencies saying the system will help to combat terrorism, there are concerns the telcos aren’t equipped to handle such sensitive information and have no need for customers’ data beyond the billing purposes.

“Carriers only collect appropriate data for their businesses. There is a world of difference between the data collected in order to bill a customer for their Internet usage, versus the collection of a mass of data generated by a customer during their sessions on-line,” Dalby says. “The data generated by telecommunications traffic massively outweighs the data required for ISPs and carriers to run their businesses.

“This suggestion from the Attorney General’s Department could be likened to saying, ‘You are going to the shops to get a litre of milk anyway, and so it’s no big deal to bring me the whole
supermarket’,” he said.

Dalby estimates the cost the scheme to cost $100 million over two years, which would be an extra $5 to $10 a month for customers.

Read his submission here.

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